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Did you know that...?

August 5, 2009

Pairing travel with pleasures of the palate!

Mr Pinchot Bakery - Plateau Mont-Royal

Travel is an extraordinary way to discover other cultures. More and more, tourists are exploring the culinary traditions of their host countries and seeking out authenticity in their food choices. Their appreciation of local producer savoir faire is matched only by their eagerness to sample local specialties. The end result is a wealth of one-of-a-kind travel experiences they will long remember.

Warm and welcoming, Québecers have, for a number of years now, been treating international visitors to a variety of regional delights. Indeed, restaurateurs across Québec now make it a point to feature local or regional specialties on their menus, thereby providing for a more genuine, more eco-friendly style of tourism and discovery.

To satisfy excursionists travelling alone or in groups, Québec’s ports of call have adapted their service offering. Indeed, shuttles or taxis now take passengers from their ships directly to the main attractions. This makes it easier for individuals from abroad to make acquaintance with the local people and to appreciate the know-how of Québec artisans. For a taste of Québec at its best, cruise passengers enjoy an impressive selection of cheeses, berries, fresh fish, local beers, waterfowl and upland game.

Each port of call offers a variety of appetizing delights which include as follows:

Indulge in an aromatic tour of the flavours of Old Montréal where you will discover First Nations influence on our way of eating, as well as the culinary heritage of Expo 67. You are certain to be pleasantly surprised by the extent of epicurean development in Montréal! Discover the colours and aromas of local fare by taking a stroll through one or other of the city’s many public markets. Seize the opportunity to sample local specialties and make the acquaintance of a fascinating group of individuals!

The city is home to over 120 restaurants. In the bustling central core, you are certain to find something to your liking and will want to experience the delight of any number of regional specialties: yellow perch from Lake Saint-Pierre, celebrated smoked trout from Saint-Alexis, bison or elk from Saint-Prosper, and Le Baluchon cheese, a delectable regional favourite.

The region in and around the provincial capital, from the heart of Old Québec to Ile d’Orléans, is home to a wealth of market garden specialties which include, strawberries, blackcurrants, raspberries, and an extensive offering of vegetables. Producers will be all too pleased to have you sample their produce. A number of gourmet tours are organized from Québec. Come meet regional chocolate makers, bakers, wine makers and other food sector artisans.

This particular port of call has what it takes to titillate tourist taste buds! To get a better feel for the region, seek out a restaurant featuring traditional-style meals with broad bean soup (soupe de gourganes) and tourtière (a meat pie made with potatoes and several varieties of meat)… all the better to familiarize you with the fascinating history of the region. Looking for something more refined? Stop in at one of the region's gourmet inns where you will revel in the fineries of Saguenay culinary tradition.

Baie-Comeau, Sept-Îles, Havre-Saint-Pierre:
Each of these ports of call boasts an abundance of local seafood such as scallops, snow crab, northern shrimp, razor clams, sea urchins and scrumptious Stimpson’s surf clams. Meat lovers, too, will be in their glory! Regional menus feature an appetizing selection of caribou, wild duck, partridge and hare.

In the region, you will also enjoy an opportunity to sample a local berry known as the cloudberry (chicouté or plaquebière in French). Orange in colour, the cloudberry looks somewhat like a raspberry but boasts a distinctive, acidic taste. The berries can be eaten fresh or enjoyed in a specialty liqueur known as chicoutai. 

With the river or gulf always within sight, restaurants in the region offer an impressive selection of maritime delights such as salmon and shellfish prepared in any number of ways and fit for the most discriminating of palates. The region also boasts an abundance of goat cheeses, smoked or dried specialties, and hydromel, a honey-based wine.

Îles de la Madeleine:
This island archipelago offers a wealth of local specialties, including beer and cheese with the inimitable taste of the islands! In season, island crab and lobster are absolutely unbeatable for flavour and freshness. And for something a little more out of the ordinary, sample a shark burger… yes, you heard right! You’ll find that and more on the menus of any number of island bistros!

At any of Québec’s ports of call, you will have an opportunity to sample a broad spectrum of local produce and specialties, some in upmarket restaurant settings, others in laid-back bistros, others yet in local corner cafés. As many products on offer in gourmet food shops are packaged for takeout, you will be able to share you gourmet travel finds with friends and family.

There’s no better way to extend the pleasures of a holiday on the St.Lawrence!


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